Two years ago, on June 15, 2013, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a program that would help young immigrants who were brought to the country without documents. The program continues and now is in the first renewal stage for those who first applied.
In brief, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allows children who entered the United States before the age of 15 and have lived here for 5 years in good standing* to apply to remain in the United States for a two year period. Applicants can apply for work benefits as well, and can pursue education goals.
Through our Board of Immigration Appeals Recognized program, Catholic Charities of Central Colorado has been able to help over 130 people obtain DACA approval, affording opportunity on an uncommon scale. “We find that DACA beneficiaries have experienced a pronounced increase in economic opportunities” reports a study from the American Immigration Council.(1) The report cites that 59% of those who received DACA have been able to find a job. Strong work ethic is cited as a prevailing attribute of the youth who have benefited from the DACA program.
Many a student in Colorado Springs has come to us with hope for some options for their future. We have been delighted to be able to assist hard-working and bright young people. Collecting certificates from school and church for the DACA applications, we are easily reminded of how precious these young people are to their families, communities and to us.
*Specific eligibility requirements are not discussed here. Call Family Immigration Services at 866-6515 for more information.
(1) Roberto G. Gonzales and Angie M. Bautista-Chavez (2014). Two Years and Counting: Assessing the Growing Power of DACA. Washington, D.C.: American Immigration Council: Author. Retrieved from http://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/special-reports/two-years-and-counting-assessing-growing-power-daca
By Corey Almond
Corey is the VP of Family Immigration Services for Catholic Charities of Central Colorado.